Sunday, December 7, 2014

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2014 Giants Top 50 Prospects Review

Someone was complaining in the comments the other day about lack of accountability.  Well, here is accountability!  Every year, before we do the next year's top 50 prospects list, we review the previous year's list to see how each listed player fared.  I don't think you can get much more accountable than that.  Remember, this is a REVIEW of LAST YEAR's list, 2014 to be exact!  I will list the player, indicate whether their stock is up, down or stable and make a comment if appropriate.  I am not going to list stat lines as we have done that in the season review for each minor league team and also with the depth chart series.  If you want to look up the stat lines, they are easy to find on Fangraphs or

1.  Kyle Crick, RHP, Stable.  Continued to show dominant strikeout stuff, but also continued to walk a lot of batters.  The walks are starting to be a concern, but he is still young and has time to figure it out.  High ceiling alert!

2.  Edwin Escobar, LHP.  Traded to Boston for Jake Peavy.  Pitched decently for Boston's AAA team. Gave up a run in 2 IP in his MLB debut.

3.  Heath Hembree, RHP.  Traded to Boston for Jake Peavy.  Pitched 4 scoreless innings in his Red Sox debut, but gave up runs in 2 of the 6 games he appeared for an ERA of 4.50.

4.  Andrew Susac, C, Up.  Hit very well and handled himself well behind the plate when called up to replace Hector Sanchez as the backup catcher.  Giants management has indicated that Susac is the backup catcher going into next season.  Has the best catcher in baseball in front of him, though.

5.  Mac Williamson, OF, Stable.  Raked the Cal League where he was DH'ing to baby his arm.  He ended up undergoing TJ.  Should be ready close to the start of 2015.  Hope to see him in AA at least before the end of the season.

6.  Christian Arroyo, SS/2B, Stable.  Got off to a rough start in Augusta then got hurt on the hand by a pitch.  Came back in Salem-Keizer and raked.  Played 2B in Augusta, SS in S-K.

7.  Adalberto Mejia, LHP, Stable.  Disappointing season in AA, but was one of the youngest players in the league.  Must serve a 50 game suspension to begin 2015 for a substance that is sometimes used as a weight loss agent.

8.  Clayton Blackburn, RHP, Up.  Solid numbers in AA.  Worked on a slider/cutter in the AFL.  If he does not get traded, I think he could be ready to help the Giants as early as mid-season.

9.  Ty Blach, LHP, Stable.  Pitched well in AA, but ugly K rate.

10. Chris Stratton, RHP, Stable.  Continues to be an enigma.  Better results, but worse peripherals after promotion to AA.

11.  Joe Panik, 2B.  Way up!  Graduated to MLB and what a debut!  No need to repeat the deets here.

12. Kendry Flores, RHP, Stable.  Got knocked around a bit in San Jose, but peripherals still look good.

13.  Joan Gregorio, RHP, Down.  Got a wild hair up his nose in San Jose.  Pitched just OK after going back down to Augusta.

14.  Keury Mella, RHP, Up.  Pitched well for Augusta and Salem-Keizer around a mid-season shoulder scare. High ceiling alert!

15.  Gary Brown, OF, down.  Actually had a decent season for Fresno, but Giants management clearly has no faith in him.  Not that there is any reason why they really should.

16.  Derek Law, RHP, Stable.  Pitched fairly well in AA before going down with a UCL tear.  Should be back about mid-season.

17.  Martin Agosta, RHP, Way down!  Agosta was just horrible in limited action.  Gotta think he is not right physically.

18.  Ryder Jones, 3B, Stable.  Jones had an up and down year.  Started off strong and playing SS in Augusta.  Got worn down by the grind of pro ball.  Finished on a strong note the last week or two in Salem-Keizer back at 3B.

19.  Angel Villalona, 1B, Down.  His numbers just cratered in the second half.  High ceiling bat, but starting to run out of time to make it happen.

20.  Ricky Oropesa, 3B/1B, Way Down!  Struggled in second try at AA and was relegated to the bench at times.

21.  Chase Johnson, RHP, Stable.  Continues to run hot and cold.

22.  Jesus Galindo, OF, Stable.  Decent numbers in San Jose.

23.  Ehire Adrianza, SS, Up.  Was a valuable back up piece for the Giants and appeared to be winning the 2B job when he went down with a hammy.  Hit .333 and .318 in July and August.

24.  Mike Kickham, LHP, Down.  Got worse as the season progressed.  At this point does not appear to have an idea on the mound.  Career appears to be going backward.  Will try to get back on track in 2015.

25.  Cody Hall, RHP, Up.  Pitched will in AA and is reportedly pitching well in Winter Ball.  Added to 40 man roster.

26.  Josh Osich, LHP, Down.  Struggled  and was left off the 40 man roster.

27.  Jarrett Parker, OF.  Stable.  Good numbers in a repeat AA season.  Late promo to AAA with similar numbers.  Does not have a clear path to the majors.

28.  Adam Duvall, 3B/1B.  Up.  Raked for Fresno.  Struggled in small samples in the majors.  Fielding is an issue.

29.  Chuckie Jones, OF, Stable.  Solid season for SJ, but is time starting to run out on him?

30.  Matt Duffy, SS, Way up!  Tore up the AA Eastern League and then held his own in a difficult PH role in the majors.

31.  Jeff Arnold, C, Down.  Missed all season with a knee injury requiring surgery.  Will need to prove he is healthy in 2015.

32.  Mitch Delfino, 3B, Stable to slightly up.  Had a fine season for San Jose.  Should move up to AA.

33.  Alberto Robles, SS/2B, Way down!  Very disappointing offensive numbers.

34.  Ian Gardeck, RHP, Down.  Did not make progress with his control issues.

35.  Stephen Johnson, RHP, Stable to slightly up.  Solid season for San Jose.

36. Tyler Horan, OF, Way up!  Played at 3 levels if you count the AA playoffs.  May be the premiere power hitting prospect in the organization at this point.

37.  Shilo McCall, OF, Way down!  Terrible season for Salem-Keizer.  Will he get one more chance to get some traction on his career?

38.  Blake Miller, IF, Up.  Hit well after a mid-season callup to AA, no small feat.  Scouting reports are not as optimistic as his numbers look, but then neither were Duffy's or Panik's.

39.  Brandon Bednar, IF, Up.  Big for an IF.  Held his own after a callup to SJ.  Will he do the Duffy/Miller in 2015?

40.  Brian Ragira, 1B, Stable to slightly up.  Caught fire in the second half for SJ.  Will need to keep it going in AA to really move up in the rankings.

41.  Jeremy Sy, IF, Stable.  Low BA but nice power and SB numbers.  Needs to find some traction on his career and fast.

42.  Dan Slania, RHP, Stable.  Decent numbers but small sample.

43.  Pat Young, RHP, Down.  Disappointing numbers for San Jose.

44.  Luis Ysla, LHP, Up.  Nice numbers for Augusta.  Should move up to San Jose in 2015.  High ceiling alert.

45.  Donald Snelton, LHP, Stable.  Nice numbers, SSS.

46.  Carlos Diaz, LHP, Stable.  Decent numbers for Augusta.

47.  Johneshwy Fargas, OF, Up.  One of my favorite prospects.  Showed good plate discipline and contact skills as well as speed in Salem-Keizer.  High ceiling alert.

48.  Jonah Arenado, 3B, Stable.  Solid numbers for Rookie AZL.  Needs to move up in 2015.  Another high ceiling alert.

49.  John Riley, C, Down.  Struggled in his second pro season in Arizona.

50.  Dylan Brooks, RHP, Stable.  Repeated rookie ball, but put up solid numbers.  Another high ceiling alert.

Running out of time and space here.  I will do the Honorable Mentions and Dominican Dandies in another post.

Overall, I think the system is in good shape.  There were some disappointments but at least as many positive surprises.  Between the positives and the new blood from the draft, I think the system will be better in 2015.


  1. I am obviously excited to see how Mac Williamson and Clayton Blackburn progress this year. However, my dark horses are Matt Lujan and Christian Jones. Lujan is a dinosaur at 26 but I love his numbers and I hope he can keep being dominant at higher levels. I like Christian's K/BB. Hopefully will see him at San Jose. Daniel Carbonell is a very interesting case. He did well albeit a very small sample size. Apparently people outside the system are already writing him off. I have definitely not given up on him and am very optimistic he can turn into a Ben Revere type player. The dude is build like an NFL receiver. Kind of reminds me of TO's frame. Prove the naysayers wrong!

  2. If Williamson and Law are stable despite missing the season due to injuries, then I would give Jeff Arnold the same slack. I attributed some of the struggles of the young pitchers in AA to Arnold not being there. Therefore, my opinion of him as a prospect actually increases as I now see a dimension that I had not value before. Of course, since he did not play, and we do not know how he'll come back from the injury, there is really no way I can give him an "UP".

    1. Arnold's knee injury sounded pretty bad. I just think it's harder for a catcher to come back from that than the TJ's that Williamson and Law had.

  3. Wow. Okert was not even in the top50 last year.

    1. Yeah, when I do the HM's Okert will be WAY UP! Might even be top 10 this year and definitely top 20.

    2. Honestly, Okert probably made the biggest jump of any pitcher in the organization this year. When I was making my list last winter, I asked David Lee about him, as David didn't even rank Okert in his top 10 Augusta prospects at the end of the season. I don't remember his exact response to my question, but it was something along the lines of his previous velocity disappearing part way through the year. Basically, stuff not matching the scouting reports. I ranked him in the 40's after hearing that. Needless to say, he's on the verge of an MLB breakthrough at this point!

  4. Whew, a new post dawns...

    The T50 review at DocB's house is the best serving of humble pie in the Holiday season. My takes:

    Best MSTRD - Trading mid-season #2 Escobar and #3 Hembree for Peavy. Peavy stepped in for Cain and the rest is WS history. Even if Escobar pans out, flags fly forever! Plus they have the farm depth to replace Hembree.

    Best MLB Step-up - #11 Panik. Some guys are built for the grind of the Show. Panik can handle the glare of the World Series too. I'm looking at our 2B/#2 hitter for the next 6 years minimum. Talk about the farm producing.

    2nd Place MLB Step-up - #4 Susac. He proved he can hang his jock in the MLB clubhouse. This kid has the tools and bravado to stick. Plus he showed he can manage the Giants staff and the game. Highest complement is to say he could move Posey off catching in the future (not 2015).

    3rd Place MLB Step-up #30 Duffy. The Duffman stepped in with a mature calm and tough as nails approach that showed best in the bright lights of the playoffs. Can't buy that at K-Mart. Everything this kid does he does well. Only question is what role he will play 2015. I predict 3B in AAA and call up mid-season to full time 3B if his arm plays out.

    Honorable Mention MLB Step-up - #23 Ehire. Showed he has the D to stick and flashed some hitting ability. Most likely to be traded in the future, but this is his year to stay healthy and show he can stick with the big club. Let's sell high on this chip.

    Not Even On The List Mention - Strickland. This guy electrified the playoffs - in good and bad ways. But I see what Boch and Rags see, this kid has the closer makeup and stuff to match. In 2015 he will be saving games for the Giants.

    So #2, #3, #4, #11, #23, #30 and unlisted all played key roles in flying another WS flag for the Giants. Damn that's no ground chuck, that's prime rib-eyes. Shankbone, wonder if any other contender's farm system had this level of payoff in 2014?

    1. For a farm system that got no respect, the Giants got as much or more out of it than any other system last year.

    2. Great Recap Shark!!

      What an amazing year from the big club, keyed by the contributions and trading pieces from a "bottom 10" farm system. Man, that's great stuff.

    3. PS - Also great recap for the Doc. This list puts into full perspective the wild year from the minors - surprises from all angles, including the good and the bad. Watching it through the summer, you knew the whole top 50 was completely getting shaken up, but it's nice to get it put into a single place in review.

      Really hope Williamson can make a resurgence from injury and reclaim his status!

      Can't wait to see what this year has in store..

    4. You can even add Duvall to that list. Very impressive!

  5. My prediction for a 2015 (sort of) surprise: Jarrett Parker.

    The scenario is that the team signs Headley and a 2nd tier SP and leaves LF to the usual suspects, perhaps adding a dumpster-dive OF for spring training. Parker starts out in Sacto and puts up the usual numbers. An OF is injured during the first couple months of the season and Parker is called up. He gets a chance to start and puts up ... the usual numbers. And his fielding is excellent. The press is shocked. He holds on to a starting job.

    Some guys rake in AAA but can never make it. Others just carry on. I have a hunch Parker is one of the latter.

    1. I think that scenario is possible.

    2. I like your response on Blackburn Doc, mid season call-up would be great. Beede will be exciting to watch as well and he could really move fast. There are two guys who I am really excited about for the upcoming season, Mac Williamson and Tyler Horan. The power in both of their bats is something I hope continues to play up as they progress.

  6. Baggarly left CSN. Writing book for 2014 Giants. I read Misfits book and enjoyed it. Maybe books is his true calling.

    1. Baggs got ostracized from the club-house during the season. Not good when you are an insider.

  7. I really appreciate your take on draft rankings, DrB. It's a challenge to figure 'sorting' with all factors considered, like: draft position, talent, floor/ceiling, MLB readiness, positional scarcity, projection on development, etc. I think you infuse more realism into your ranks than most. Nice work! I tend to agree with you on these things.

    I've always liked Hall a bit more than Hembree. Maybe we'll get to see him in SF soon? Okert, too. And a few guys put on some shine in 2014; Mikey Edie, Ysla, Stephen Johnson, and Ray Black sure come to mind! You did give an HM to Jean Angomas, that was a great call.

    The Giants' system tends to be a bit overlooked by the "experts." Probably because it doesn't feature a top-line prospect or three. But, a farm filled with many guys that have a floor of 'serviceable' MLB back-up, possible regular, 4th/5th starter, or solid bullpen arm... That means we're likely to find a few that make an impact in The Show. With even more room to grow. Sure, I'll take it!

    Some OF prospects should offer an exciting follow: Williamson, Horan, Carbonell, Parker, Galindo, Cabrera, Herrera... What becomes of Duffy? I also wonder what happens with guys like Perez, Adrianza, Brown, Parker, and Duvall; specifically. 2015 could prove out just how valuable our 2011 draft class is: Panik, Crick, Susac, Bandilla, Osich, Black, Law, Tomlinson, Blackburn, and Hall among them. Wow! Again, very fine work. Cheers.

  8. People keep getting their panties in a bunch about Crick and relief work... The Yankees had a kid by the name of Betances who was equally wild. There was talk of moving him to the pen and it finally happened. He was flat out dominant this year past year as pitching in shorter stints seemed to allow him to finally be able to repeat and deliver on his stuff. I really want Crick to be a starter, but if he were to come up and be a lights out reliever then I wouldn't shed one tear. That just means that Blackburn has to become the second coming of Doug Fister =)

    1. Crick is still young and has time to figure it out. You always want your elite pitching prospect to be a starter, although that may be gradually changing. I know Dave Cameron at Fangraphs thinks the next frontier in sabermetrically guided decisionmaking will be the virtual elimination of starting pitching as a category.